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NC fugitive on the run for three years caught in NYC

Posted July 11, 2012
Updated August 8, 2012

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— A fugitive who was on the run since a 2009 slaying of an Army soldier in a Spring Lake nightclub was captured Wednesday in Queens, N.Y.

Investigators said Tobijah Nelson, 28, awaits extradition to North Carolina, where he faces charges of accessory after the fact to the murder of Army Spc. Charles Clements and the wounding of Fort Bragg soldier Arthur Mwebe.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, members of the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force and the U.S. Marshal’s Office worked together to apprehended Nelson, said Debbie Tanna, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

Investigators appeared on numerous television networks in hopes of locating Nelson. The last appearance on “America’s Most Wanted” in January 2011 prompted calls from witnesses who said they saw Nelson in the New York City area.

Nelson is a Jamaican national and has been in the United States illegally, Tanna said.

According to reports, Clements, a 27-year-old soldier based in Fort Hood, Texas, went to a friend's birthday party at the Ikola Jamaican Restaurant and Lounge on March 29, 2009. Nelson and another man, Demar Bryan, 24, were regular customers at the nightclub.

That night, Bryan allegedly began arguing with a woman outside. Clements intervened on the woman’s behalf and began arguing with Bryan.

Investigators said Bryan followed Clements back inside and shot him while on the dance floor. Clements was home on leave from Afghanistan and was due to return to war the following week. Mwebe, Clements’ friend, was also injured in the gunfire.

Bryan was arrested several months later by detectives in Seabring, Fla. He had a false identification and claimed to be relocating to the Miami area.

Bryan, who was extradited to Cumberland County, is awaiting trial on a murder charge.

Investigators have described Nelson as a Jamaican drug lord and Bryan as a violent drug dealer. They said Clements, a father of three, had nothing to do with the suspects' drug activity and met them only on the night he died.

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  • juneusvi2 Jul 12, 2012